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How to Remove Quarry Tile

Updated February 21, 2017

Quarry tiles are unglazed, machine-made ceramic tiles. Available in many sizes, shapes and colours, these tiles are extremely durable and frequently very thick, up to 1/2 inch in thickness for some larger sizes. Removing quarry tiles from a substrate may require more force than other ceramic tiles simply because of their dense, thick nature.

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  1. Put on a dust mask and workman's gloves. Removing tiles is dusty work and shards of broken tiles may cut hands, so take necessary precautions before beginning.

  2. Place a chisel at a 45-degree angle, pointing away from your body on a grout joint between two tiles. Hit the chisel hard with the hammer, pushing the chisel down and away from you, breaking the tile and its mortar away from the substrate. Continue to hit the tile and a few surrounding tiles free until you have cleared a small area.

  3. Position the pry bar beneath one of the tiles next to the cleared area, and begin pulling the tiles free. When you encounter a tile that seems more firmly cemented to the ground, use the hammer and chisel to break it free.

  4. Go back over the substrate with the hammer and chisel to remove any large clumps of mortar or pieces of tile still remaining. Use the 6-inch razor blade to scrape up any remaining adhesive to prepare the substrate to accept new flooring.

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Things You'll Need

  • Dust mask
  • Gloves
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Pry bar
  • 6-inch razor blade

About the Author

Sarabeth Asaff has worked in and has written about the home improvement industry since 1995. She has written numerous articles on art, interior design and home improvements, specializing in kitchen and bathroom design. A member in good standing with the National Kitchen and Bath Association, Asaff has working knowledge of all areas of home design.

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